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THEY CALLED ME A LIONESS: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom
“[Tamimi] writes, ‘I knew that staying silent wasn’t an option. I had been given a rare platform to advocate for Palestine and its prisoners, and I intended to use it… If educating the world about our nation’s struggle was my mission in this life, I vowed to carry it out as honorably and as effectively as possible.’ Writing with journalist Takruri, Tamimi delivers a passionately argued, profoundly empathetic, and deeply informed examination of her country’s occupation. Her circumspection and clarity of thought are matched only by her vulnerability.
An expertly crafted, trenchant memoir from a formidable activist.” – Kirkus (starred)
“A powerful, moving combination of a memoir of personal resistance with a panoramic overview of the history of Palestine that leaves the reader with a detailed understanding of the daily realities of life under Israeli military occupation.” - Omar Robert Hamilton, author of The City Always Wins
“I cannot even begin to convey the clarity, the intensity, the power, the photographic storytelling of They Called Me a Lioness. Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri lay bare seemingly every terrifying aspect of Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians, and the relentless freedom fight of Palestinians and their Israeli allies. Read and bear witness.” —Ibram X. Kendi, Internationally Bestselling Author of How to Be an Antiracist
“With more courage than any child should ever have to possess, Ahed Tamimi showed the world more than once what it looks when you refuse to consent to your own obliteration. In this gripping, painful, and inspiring book, she tells the parts of the story that the cameras always miss: the slow and grinding humiliations of the occupation, the heartache of losing loved ones to Israeli prisons and guns, the cruelties of imprisonment, the love, laughter, and strength in solidarity that are necessary to keep living, breathing, and fighting against enormous odds. For anyone planning to stay alive on this planet in these perilous times, They Called Me a Lioness is urgent and essential reading.” - Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Way to the Spring
“This book soars… Lioness divulges an intimate portrait of a kid growing up in a political family in occupied Palestine, offering a succinct history of how Palestinians were expelled from their homes in ’48 and since and sharing a deep snapshot of Tamimi’s own charged learning experiences in jail with other female political prisoners, some of whom were children like herself. It's a book to absorb and sob through – while being informed and ignited by Ahed’s hard won exuberant hope that state violence can be defeated by a strong and joyous refusal – accompanied by an unswerving belief that Palestine one day will be free.” – Eileen Myles, poet, author of Chelsea Girls
“This passionate memoir shines a broad-beamed floodlight on a people, a place, and a problem that the world too often discounts. Beautifully written, They Called Me A Lioness humanizes the daily headlines of occupation and resistance. Ahed's story will rattle your soul and ignite calls for justice, equality, and peace." – Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of What the Eyes Don’t See
A young Palestinian activist jailed at sixteen after a confrontation with Israeli soldiers shines a light on the daily struggles of life under occupation in this moving, deeply personal memoir.
Ahed Tamimi is a Palestinian student activist in the West Bank. In 2012 a photo of her bravely standing up to an Israeli soldier (when she was 11 years-old) went viral and became a symbol of the Palestinian confrontation. Ahed has spent her life under Israeli occupation with many of her family having been incarcerated for their activism. Her father was born in 1967, the year that the Israeli occupation began and one of her earliest memories is visiting her father in prison, poking her three-year-old fingers through the fence to touch his hand. The ubiquitous security checkpoints and armed guards even found their way into her childhood fairytales and playdates. As a little girl her grandmother told her stories of her family and its many tragic events.
In this gripping memoir, Tamimi reveals what it is like to life a life in occupation. She is seen by some as a freedom-fighting hero and a naïve agitator by others. Beyond recounting her well-publicized interactions with Israeli soldiers, her unwavering commitment to family, and her fearless command of her own voice, Tamimi shows she will not be silenced despite threats, intimidation, and even incarceration. She shines a light on the humanity not just in the pro-Palestine movement, but all political efforts that speak for the young and the unsung.
As a child, Tamimi rose to international prominence for confronting Israeli soldiers during weekly demonstrations, which resulted in violent attacks on her family and her imprisonment at 16. Ahed is now studying international law at Birzeit University and plans to use her degree to advance the struggle for a free Palestine. The co-author, Dena Takruri is an award-winning journalist who has reported extensively on the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Europe’s refugee crisis, tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and other events of global significance. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Dena was born and raised in the U.S., yet has spent many summers of her life in Palestine. She is currently a Senior Presenter and Producer at AJ+, and previously worked at HuffPost Live and Al Jazeera Arabic.
THEY CALLED ME A LIONESS is very much an essential addition to this complicated conversation of Israeli occupation in the West Bank. This is the first work by Tamimi who is still honored for her courage and widely regarded as a symbol of Palestine’s youth movement.
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